Living in a studio apartment is a challenge since the bedroom and living room are combined. Depending on the space’s size, you might have questions on how to live in a studio apartment effectively. Where do you even put the bed? We have come up with some valuable studio apartment living tips that will help you re-imagine small spaces.
Most studio apartments fall somewhere between 300 and 400 square feet in size. There are variations of three general layouts:
- Option 1: living area with a bathroom, kitchen, and closet off of it on one side
- Option 2: a living area with a kitchen and small dining room on one side and a closet and bathroom on the other
- Options 3: a living area with a kitchenette on one of its walls.
Here’s a simple visual of studio apartment floor plans:
The following advice applies regardless of which layout you end up with.
1. Create the illusion of a bedroom area.
One way to solve a studio’s lack of bedroom is to create your own—or at least the illusion of one.
Use a curtain, shelving unit, or traditional room divider to separate your bed from the rest of the room, creating a private “bedroom” to sleep in peace. If your apartment is on the small side, a divider might not be feasible, and it could make the space feel claustrophobic.
If you can’t divide the bed off using a divider, the following tips can help:
- Make your bed every morning. This simple step is a fast way to make your entire space feel less cluttered or chaotic.
- Anchor your bed on an area rug. A rug is an inexpensive way to divide a space visually without taking up any vertical space. Make sure the rug is the right size for your bed.
- Consider a murphy bed. If you can’t stand seeing your bed during the day, look into some transitional furniture like a daybed or murphy bed.
2. Pick a furniture layout based on your lifestyle.
Create a space where you can hang out with friends, watch TV, and work on your laptop. To do this, think multipurpose. Instead of buying a desk, a TV stand, and a bookshelf, install wall shelving that you can use for all three. Instead of buying a huge, bulky couch, get a couple of smaller armchairs. But before you buy anything, think of how you’re going to live in the space.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do I need to work in this space? If so, how can I fit in a desk or use another area (like a dining table) to serve this purpose?
- Realistically, how many people will I have over for get-togethers? Make sure you have space for everyone to sit. If you only have one or two people over, a larger scale two-seater sofa should suffice. If you have more, think about a smaller couch in addition to floor poufs and accent chairs.
- Am I making the space do too much? Is there some functionality you could give up to make your apartment seem more streamlined? Perhaps you don’t need to have a gym studio in the corner. Maybe you can do your work at a coffee shop instead of in the apartment. Sometimes, a compromise can help your home base feel more serene.
3. Store your clothing out in the open.
Sadly, some studio apartment closets are too small to contain a whole wardrobe. The best way to remedy that tiny closet is to create your own. Hide a standing clothes rack behind a curtain to give your clothes a place. Or, let your clothes serve as décor by hanging them creatively out in the open. Use ceiling mounted clothes racks or try to get creative with DIY clothes racks for a really unique look.
If this open clothing storage idea makes you cringe, consider the following tips:
- Research capsule wardrobes. Investing in a capsule wardrobe will help you not only create more storage space, but capsule wardrobes are highly curated. Essentially, you’ll only own clothing that you enjoy looking at on a rack out in the open.
- Keep up with your laundry. If you’re lazy with housework, living in a studio apartment will begin to look like a nightmare for you. Before moving in, make sure you master the art of household chores. Doing your laundry diligently will do two things. First, it will prevent piles of laundry clutter on the floor of your small space. Second, it will dissuade you from buying excess clothing. People who own too many clothes tend to wait longer to do their laundry. Instead of washing their shirts when they run out, they might just buy another one.
- Experiment with styling. When you don’t own a lot of clothing, you have the opportunity to get creative. Can you wear the same shirt twice a week but make it look different each time? You can and you should try.
4. Declutter kitchen utensils and shop for groceries often.
In a studio apartment, your kitchen is probably going to be one of two things: a strip of cabinets against one wall of the living room, or a room so small there’s hardly enough space to open the refrigerator door all the way. How can you make it work? By considering the following.
Only buy essential kitchen utensils.
Remember that you don’t really need a tofu press, and twelve different knives aren’t necessary. Don’t let your cabinets fill up with boxes of pasta and cans of vegetables that you’re never going to use.
Only buy food you’ll eat within a few weeks.
Whatever you do, do not let kitchen messes build up. Wash the dishes as you use them, throw out expired food right away and wipe down all your surfaces after cooking.
For young people living on their own for the first time, studio apartments are ideal because of their affordability. However, there’s definitely something terrifying about cramming everything into 300 square feet. As long as you remember to be creative and organized, you’ll figure out how to live in a studio apartment in no time.
If these studio apartment living tips inspired you, check out these articles for more guidance:
- 10 Innovative Clothes Storage Ideas When You Have No Closet
- 13 Tips for the Most Organized Kitchen Ever
Update: This post originally published on June 15, 2017. It was revised on September 2, 2020.